Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stay Hot in a Cold World

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" 38 And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Last night in small group the question came up "How do we keep the spiritual intensity long after the snow retreat is over?" For those who didn't go, "How can we stay hot, in a cold, crooked world"?

We talked about a couple of different things; one is the passage here, and the other is an illustration of the coals, or embers, in a fire. The fire can have many pieces of log in it that are red hot but as soon as you take them away from the fire and put them off to the side they begin to turn black. When returned to the fire they immediately go back to being red hot. We need fellowship and accountability.

In this passage it is interesting to me that right after Peter finishes his sermon, they ask "What shall we do?" Peter's answer is short and to the point, "Repent and be baptized". Obviously, for us to be spiritually hot we have to first repent and be saved.

It doesn't seem that their situation was too much different than ours here on earth right now. We certainly live in a "crooked generation". They had struggles with sin, schedules to keep, jobs to do, all like we have now. But what they did that we don't do nearly as much today is that they spent lots of time together talking about spiritual things; like we do at the S/R. It seems that God was blessing them in an amazing way and "all" they did was devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and ate and prayed together.

This is not rocket science, and for God to use something so simple as being in His Word and fellowship together to build His Church exponentially is testament that God uses the "foolish things of the world to shame the wise" 1 Cor. 1:26-30. I think we often want to make this much more difficult than it is. Almost like we want to be like the Pharisees, trying to do all these things, but Jesus says in Luke 11:28 "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!" Jesus is saying, "Stay in the Word and obey it and you will be blessed". No more things to add, no more hoops to jump through. Get Your food from the Word and God will bless you for it.

Lord, let us love the assembling of Your people. Let us love to listen and read Your Word. May You change our hearts and grow our faith because of the time we spend in Your Word. Keep us hot for the things of Your Kingdom. Give us the desire to seek first Your Kingdom and then may we rest in knowing that You will take care of the rest. God, give us a revival of our hearts and in Your Church. Bind our wondering hearts to You. You have to do this work in us. Please work in the hearts of Your people and give us a heart for the lost.

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